Police Department

Preventing Child Abduction

Child Abduction Prevention Tips

  • Never assume your child will not be abducted - always act as though it could happen.
  • Establish solid communication with your child. Develop open dialogue so he or she can confide in you in case of trouble.
  • Never leave young children unattended (at home, in a parked car, shopping cart or in a public restroom).
  • Make certain your child knows his or her full name, your name, address and telephone number, including area code. Tach him or her to use the telephone.
  • Have pictures taken yearly. For preschoolers, pictures should be updated quarterly.
  • Keep records of fingerprints, footprints, dental and doctor information, birthmarks and birth certificates. You should keep copies of x-rays as hospitals do not keep such records for more than a few years.
  • Tell baby-sitters or friends caring for the child not to let your child go with anyone but you.
  • Teach your child to avoid people they do not know.
  • Explain to your child that a stranger is someone they do not know, nor do you.
  • Teach your child that adults usually do not ask children for directions. If someone should stop in a car asking directions, tell your child not to go to the car.
  • Have your child practice the buddy system until old enough that this system is not necessary.
  • Caution your child not to play in deserted places. There is safety in numbers.
  • Teach your child the facts of abduction early. If handled simply as another fact of life children need not be inordinately frightened by the idea of abduction.
  • Establish strict procedures regarding who will pick up your child from school and be meticulously consistent.
  • Teach your child never to go anywhere with anyone who doesn't know a family "Code" word.
  • Make sure that your child does not have his or her name on a visible place such as clothing or belongings. It makes it harder for strangers to be on a first name basis with your child.
  • Know as much as possible about your ex-spouse and his or her friends and relatives. Pay attention to threats of stealing the child. Watch for attitude changes and/or unstable behavior in your ex-spouse. Be aware of how a life-style change by you or your spouse might affect him or her.
  • Explain to your child that if they are home alone not to open the door for anyone except previously designated persons. This includes a salesperson or delivery person.
  • Teach your child never to answer the telephone and tell anyone that he or she is home alone. If someone should call, instruct your child to make a prepared statement such as, "Daddy/Mommy cannot come to the phone right now ... can I take a message."
  • Teach older children to come home at dark.
  • Remind older children to phone home.
  • Know who your child's friends are, where they live, and their telephone numbers.
  • Beware of any adult that showers your child with an inordinate amount of attention and/or presents. No one should care more about your child than you.
  • Be aware that a pedophile is usually an adult whose sexual preference is confined to youngsters. The classic pedophile preys on runaways or children from unhappy homes. He showers the child with affection. By the time sexual activity takes place, the child is often an uncomplaining partner and it goes unreported. Please show your child appropriate affection.
  • Teach your child that if they are being followed not to hide behind bushes, but to go where there are people or to a safe house.
  • Teach your child that it is appropriate to "make a scene" if he or she senses danger from an adult. Teach him or her to yell "HELP!", or "I DON'T KNOW YOU!", not just scream.